Modular Homes Section

New Jersey Modular Builder Interviewed

Bill Sparkes
Modular Homes by Spartec
November 2011

In between putting up new modular homes in New Jersey, Modular Today was able to chat with Bill Sparkes, a veteran of modular construction. This local New Jersey modular builder has experience with custom designed homes for the varied NJ landscape. He has handled the high wind loads of the Jersey shore and the even higher pressure of making NJ home buyers happy.

Modular Today: How did Spartec become involved in modular homes?
Bill Sparkes : After being involved in stick-building in one form or another, I finally wised up.

Modular Today: What lingo or special terms should modular home buyers know?
Bill Sparkes : Construction material and methods terminology. They should understand the difference between such things as OSB versus Plywood. (Note: OSB stands for oriented strand board which is an engineered wood product. It is formed by layers of wood flakes sprayed with glue in alternating directions and then placing it under high pressure to form a solid sheet of wood product. Plywood is a made from adding thin sheets of wood together. It has a much nicer finished appearance than OSB but costs much more than OSB.)

Modular Today: How should modular home buyers compare potential modular home builders?
Bill Sparkes : By first having a knowledgeable person compare specifications for them. Fully understanding exactly what the builder is responsible for doing and be on guard against such phrases as "Allowance" and "Allotment". These phrases nullify the estimates by being vague.

Modular Today: How are Spartec modular homes different from stick-built homes?
Bill Sparkes : The biggest different besides the upgraded materials is the space between the ceiling of the first floor and the floor of the second floor. The fact that it is a double layer of joists, with a space in between, makes it almost 2' and cushions any noises between floors.

Modular Today: Which upgrades should smart modular home buyers choose?
Bill Sparkes : Anything that would be difficult or impossible to do after the house is placed on the foundation. Things such as thicker floors, 2x6 exterior walls, higher ceilings, etc.

Modular Today: What common mistake do modular home buyers make?
Bill Sparkes : Failing to study and understand the material that is going into their house (the specifications). They assume that all modulars are made the same.

Modular Today: How can home buyers get the best price when buying a modular home?
Bill Sparkes : Decide if they are going to live in the house for a couple of years or the next 20 or 30 years, then select the quality of materials to suit.

Modular Today: What is the most unusual situation you have had to deal with?
Bill Sparkes : An unidentified storm drain that was not on any municipal map or records. The sewer line had to be pumped over it.

Modular Today: What achievement is Spartec most proud of?
Bill Sparkes : Having several customers become friends over the years.

Modular Today: What lesson(s) have you learned over the years dealing with modular homes?
Bill Sparkes : That no builder can afford to represent only one manufacturer. We once submitted eight orders for drawings to a company that kept promising they would be sent "Next week", "Next week" only to find out five months later and after loosing four of the deals, that the manufacturer was tied up with a large multi-family project. Today we represent three manufacturers who make the houses to our specs. If we do not receive drawings within three or four weeks, we immediately switch to another manufacturer. Also, builders should be cognizant of the financial strength of the manufacturer they represent.

Bill Sparkes can be contacted at Spartec LLC in 15 Point Drive in Somers Point, NJ 08244 or just pick up the phone and call Spartec at 609-927-6655. Spartec has 5 office locations throughout New Jersey (Somers Point, Newtonville, Beverly, Basking Ridge and Manalapan) You can find out more about their custom home construction at any of their office locations. They can provide you with some predesigned floor plans to choose from or you can have them design a custom home designed just for your family.